New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge bet on himself this offseason when he turned down a contract extension from the team.
This paid off in a major way.
Judge has put together arguably the best season from a position player since Barry Bonds, with numbers that almost seem made up.
Aaron Judge is batting .520 (13-25 AB) with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 runs and 8 walks over his last seven games. His batting average is up to .307.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 11, 2022
However, despite this there is still a heated debate on the American League MVP race.
Other people are pointing out the numbers of Shohei Ohtani, the two-way talent that has played his way into being a top 10 pitcher and hitter.
While Ohtani’s success on the field are virtually unprecedented, it still doesn’t quite compare to Judge’s.
Here are three reasons why the Yankees outfielder should hang on to win the MVP award.
3. Eye-Boggling Raw Numbers
The easiest way to understand Judge’s impact on the field is to just look at his numbers.
He has slugged 55 home runs so far this season, with 21 games remaining to give him a good chance at breaking the AL home run record.
That alone is impressive, but it isn’t even the most standout part of his game.
Judge has transformed himself beyond just a power hitter, batting at a .307 clip and adding a league-leading .412 on-base percentage.
To put that in perspective, he sits in fourth for the batting title, just .011 points behind Xander Bogaerts for the lead.
This would give Judge the triple crown, something that is well within reach for this season.
Aaron Judge Triple Crown Watch with 22 games to play…
55 HR (1st)
120 RBI (1st)
.307 BA (4th)
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts currently leads the AL with a .318 BA. pic.twitter.com/6WpInQPpfV
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) September 10, 2022
Judge isn’t just a power hitter who has holes in his swing but takes advantage of mistakes, he is arguably the best pure hitter in all of baseball.
On top of that, his size allows him to hit virtually any ball out of the park.
2. Above-Average Defense
Not only has Judge gotten it done offensively, he has also stood out in the outfield.
While he has for his entire career, he took on a new challenge in 2022: center field.
For most of the season, Judge was turned into the Yankees starting center fielder.
This is virtually unheard of, as someone of his size has never consistently patrolled one of the most taxing positions in all of baseball.
However, Judge did it and has remained an above-average fielder.
This is an aspect of his game that has gone overlooked in the MVP conversation, especially compared to Ohtani’s pitching.
WHAT A CATCH BY AARON JUDGE pic.twitter.com/eOMkMKpVbc
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 29, 2022
If Judge is going to get undermined because he isn’t pitching, then Ohtani should have the same criticisms for not playing the field.
This is especially the case when Judge has a higher WAR because of his standout play in the field, proving more valuable than Ohtani as a pitcher and hitter combined.
1. Judge Has Led A Playoff Team In The Biggest Market
Playing in New York carries added pressure.
This is especially the case when the team is in the midst of a playoff run which has taken them from being the best team in baseball, to one of the worst for a stretch.
Through all of this, Judge has been himself.
He has produced and, at times, carried the team to wins.
450 feet on this leadoff blast for Aaron Judge, who has now hit a career-high 53 home runs. pic.twitter.com/bdclpXfzaR
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 4, 2022
Without him, there is reason to believe that the Yankees are nowhere near a playoff spot, and are certainly competing for a Wild Card spot.
Instead, he has changed the feeling of the organization and single-handedly built the confident feeling of the team.
While Ohtani’s accomplishments are extremely impressive, he has done it for a team that hasn’t been close to the playoffs since April.
The amount of pressure on each game is something that should be taken into consideration.
If it is, look for Judge to run away with the MVP award.NEXT: A Yankees Stat May Have Fans Worried For October